Kőbánya Water Reservoir

Until the middle of the 19th century the water need of Budapest was supplied from private and public wells. Since there was no sewage system, human and household waste in cesspits polluted the wells so selling unfiltered water from the Danube was a profitable business. At the end of the 1850ies the City Council received several offers from private companies to build waterworks and pipelines to provide running water for the citizens of Budapest, but because of the unfavourable political and economical situation the proposals were not discussed.

In 1866 the cholera outbreak in Budapest made the City Council to decide to build a waterworks to supply water to Pest (the water supply of Buda was less critical).

In 1867 the City Council decided to establish a temporary waterworks to satisfy the water needs of Pest. William Lindley architect from London was assigned in 1868 to build the waterworks and reservoirs. Constructions works started in April and finished in November. The temporary waterworks was built on the estate of the current Kossuth-tér and  Parliament Building. The reservoirs were built in Kőbánya (10th district of Budapest) on the Óhegy hill.

Two underground reservoirs were built between 1869 and 1871 with a capacity of 10,800 m3 each, so the reservoirs were able to store 21,600 m3 water. Though at that time the water consumption of Pest was estimated at 1,850 m3 per day, Lindley planned the waterworks, pipeline and reservoirs for a daily capacity of 9,100 m3/day. The reservoirs were built by masons from Italy; the bricks were produced in Hungary. The bottoms of the reservoirs are at 33.88m from Danube reference level, the overflow drains at 41.88m.

The reservoirs are still in use and can be visited once a year when they drained for maintenance. The underground reservoirs in Kőbánya were enlarged in 1970 by four 4,000m3 capacity reservoirs (each).


Copyright ©: Text and photos by Károly Teleki Industrial Heritage Hungary

Source: 1) Budapest műszaki útmutatója 1896 (reprint). Edvi Illés Aladár (szerkesztő). TERC Kft., 2005. 2) Fővárosi Vízművek www.vizmuvek.hu.